This might seem like an odd question. Who’s in charge of your life? Who tells you what to do? Who says which choices are valid, and which are silly or self-indulgent?
On the surface of it, if you’re an adult, there’s probably no-one standing next to you and telling you exactly what you should be doing. But many of us have ceded control of our lives to someone else. Often unconsciously, we’ve taken on their values, even their likes and dislikes, and we’ve made them their own.
Do you ever feel that you “should” be doing something that you aren’t? Why? Is that impulse really from within you, or is it from your family, friends, or the society around you?
I’ll take you through some of the common people who we put in charge of our lives – and I’ll show you how to make sure the right person is in charge!
So, who’s controlling how you live your life? Is it...
Now, if you’ve left home, you might think that your parents don’t have any control over you any more. Well, they don’t have legal or physical control – but they can still be a huge influence.
Here are some typical ways in which people let their parents stay in control of their lives. Are you falling into any of these patterns?
If you think your parents are having an undue influence on the way you live, then remember that you’re an adult. If you’re dependent on them for finances or other resources, start working to become independent. Your parents probably do want the best for you – and even if following your dreams leads to some initial conflict (mine were a bit shocked when I quit my job to freelance!) you’ll find that they’re often even more proud of you for striking out on your own.
How often are your choices dictated by your friends and colleagues? Again, you’ll want to give this some thought – it isn’t always obvious. But your peer group can be a huge influence on:
I’m certainly not suggesting that you should ditch your friends. Rather, you should start standing up for what you want to do. Think about your own values. If you’d rather spend less, drink less, party less (or do all of these things more!) than your friends, then you need to give yourself permission – no-one else is going to. True friends won’t care, they’ll celebrate your differences. And false friends will drop away.
Sometimes, the people controlling our lives aren’t even people we know. They’re media moguls, or celebrities, or journalists. They might even be bloggers or a particular community around one of your hobbies.
When society’s in control, it can look like this:
We’re all social creatures, and it’s natural for us to look at what other people do to figure out what works. But don’t get caught up in the herd. You’re a unique person, with your own skills, talents, likes and dislikes. The world can’t decide what’s right for you – only you can do that.
Finally, maybe you’ve already got it sorted, and you’re fully in control. Or perhaps you’re definitely on the road to being there. If so, congratulations! Here’s how things might be for you:
So, who’s in charge of your life? Do you need to make some changes?